Friday, December 16, 2011

BBC Sports Personality and Young Sports Personality (Part 1)

It's 2011. Not that you'd guess that from a quick look at the names on the shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Many, including the British Olympic Association, are furious about the fact that there isn't a single woman on the list.

So how did this unfortunate situation come about?

There is a problem at the BBC. On the face of it, the Corporation is modern and forward-thinking. But look a little deeper and you soon see the old-fashioned male-dominated macho culture which led to women being sidelined in this year's list.

The BBC says that a range of sports experts from newspapers and magazines across the UK were asked to send in their top 10 selections. But, really, what on earth are magazines like Nuts and Zoo doing there?!

Now, it is true that women occupy senior positions at the BBC, with nearly half the current BBC Executive Board being women, and even a female Head of Sport. Nevertheless the old macho culture prevails.

Newsround is quite good on gender equality issues, and reported the SPOTY controversy on 29th November. Their 5pm bulletin that day included an interview with Peter Spencer of the Manchester Evening News, and a sofa chat with BBC sports reporter Matt Slater. But perhaps they could have asked some women on too. Clare Balding, for example, has been outspoken about the issue.

Hayley read out a short comment by Rebecca Adlington: "I think there have been some great women in sport this year, including my best friend Keri-Anne Payne. I'm sad they haven't been recognised."

On Thursday 8th December Ore told Newsround viewers that the final three nominees for BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year had been announced. He said it's an all-girls shortlist, and that "the decision will be made by sporting experts, including me."

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